Travelers in the Mist
Legends speak of the night a mist swept across civilized lands, and from it emerged mysterious travelers, massive horned ogres, appearing in a rainbow of brilliant colors. These wanderers spoke nothing of their own origins, but instead sought to learn the trades of the peoples they encountered. When satisfied that they had learned all they could in one place, the oni disappeared. Generations passed, and the phenomenon was dismissed as a bizarre myth or the product of elderly imaginations. That is, until strange outlanders began to appear once more on misty nights, eager to glean any trade skills they could from whomever they met.
Recluse in Plain Sight
While children’s songs warn of treacherous hungry ogres who stalk the night, looking for their next meal among the civilized races, the oni are a reserved and methodical people. Distant cousins of ogres, oni have the innate ability to change their forms, and often use this ability to walk among the peoples of other civilizations unnoticed. For an oni to reveal their true nature to a friend or companion is considered the greatest display of sincerity – it is often said that an oni cannot lie in its true form.
Unlike most creatures who can change their appearance at-will, oni hold a rigid sense of self at the center of their identity. They view their ability to transform as utilitarian rather than artistic, thinking little of their many forms beyond functional purpose. For this reason, oni often consider it an offense to assume the appearance of a person they know, regardless of whatever esteem they may hold in that person.
Guided by Tradition
Very few oni know of one another’s identity, so often an oni’s ancestry will include a wide range of the peoples that an oni parent and their bloodline have encountered through the generations. The offspring of an oni and another race will almost always be another oni. The oni parent then must impart their family’s oral traditions upon the child, and impress upon them the importance of remaining guarded – oni are often met with suspicion, and several tales tell the story of members of a community being driven away in a witch hunt when an oni is revealed to be in their midst. When an oni reaches adulthood, tradition dictates that they leave their home to wander, taking with them the trade that they have learned in their adolescence.
Most oni take the same trade skill as their oni parent as a sign of respect, though most traditions do not require it. The wanderlust that guides oni tradition lends itself well to the life of an adventurer.
An oni will hold two names, a name given derived from the culture in which they were raised, and a family name which they will only speak in their true form.
Oni family names: Aka, Aoi, Asano, Gin, Hensou, Hokutou, Horosha, Kin, Kioku, Kurowata, Koizumi, Mi, Ongaku, Tohoku
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. It is difficult to ascertain how long an oni may live as they often appear in changing guises to suit their surroundings. Though they are born roughly the size of adult humans, oni mature slightly slower than humans, reaching adulthood by the age of 20. Some oni have been known to be active among other races for as long as 300 years.
Alignment. Oni typically observe a rigid moral code, though its specifics will often vary from one oni to another, typically derived from an ancestral creed or philosophy. Most oni are lawful, though oni which have abandoned these practices can be truly capricious.
Size. Oni in their true forms stand as large as 12-13 feet tall and averaging around 700 pounds. Your size is Large. However, most oni will use their Change Shape ability to match their own size with the people around them.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Change Shape. As an action, you can polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid, or back into your true form. Other than your size, your statistics remain the same in each form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying transforms to remain an appropriate size to your current form, reverting when it leaves your possession. If you die while transformed, you revert to your true form, and all equipment you are carrying reverts to its normal size.
Regeneration. As a bonus action, you may use your transformative abilities to repair your injuries in times of stress. For the next minute, you regain a number of hit points equal to your proficiency bonus at the start of each of your turns. This effect ends if your hit points are reduced to 0.
You cannot use this ability again until you complete a long rest.
Tool Proficiency. You gain proficiency with a set of artisan’s tools of your choice.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Giant (if you were raised by an oni parent or a guardian aware of your true form). You can speak, read, and write one additional language of your choice, reflecting the culture in which you were raised.